With more and more cars on the road, an increase in accidents tends to follow. They can be mild accidents or severe, but many do result in some sort of injury. Around 3 million people in the U.S. are injured in car accidents each year, and around 2 million of those are permanent injuries. On the off chance that you or a loved one are involved in one such car accident, here are the various kinds of injuries that may occur and the treatments that each may require.
A disclaimer to start with: no matter how minimal or severe your accident is, please be sure to see a medical professional to be cleared of any serious injuries. Even if you feel fine, you could be in shock and not know the extent of your injuries. Depending upon the extent of your injuries and losses you might need personal injury lawyers Perth in your corner to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Soft Tissue Injuries
These are the most common category of injuries related to car accidents. A soft tissue injury is an injury to the connective tissues of the body. This includes muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc. Now for some examples:
- Contusions (bruises): A result of blunt force trauma, contusions occur when the small blood vessel near the surface of the skin are damaged. Some ways that these types of injuries can happen during an accident include you slamming into your seatbelt (which protects you from worse damage) or basically any body part connecting hard with a stationary or flying object, making this one of the most common injuries found in car accident victims. These injuries usually don’t require real treatment, but the typical course of treatment would be R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation). If it is a serious contusion, though, it should be looked at by a doctor to make sure it isn’t something worse, such as internal bleeding. Signs that your contusion is a sign of something worse can be numbness, constant “pins and needles” feeling in the area, not getting better in a week or so, and swelling.
- Sprains: These are caused by partial tears of ligaments, usually the result of a wrenching or sudden twisting movement. These can occur in any part of the body with ligaments, and in car accidents, they are usually found in the neck, back, and wrists. Like contusions, the R.I.C.E treatment is often applied here. However, if the ligament is fully torn you may need surgery to repair it. Given the very high cost of surgery you may need compensation lawyers Perthto assist you make an insurance claim for your medical expenses.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a particular type of soft tissue neck injury caused by the sudden whipping back and forth motion when your car comes to a sudden and aggressive stop. This type of injury can take months to years or even forever to fully heal. This is the most common injury that happens in car accidents. More often than not, whiplash should heal in a few weeks to a month. Treatment ranges from over-the-counter pain meds, rest, and hot/cold compresses all the way up to specialized pain treatment combined with physical therapy.
- Internal bleeding:This occurs when a blunt force trauma injures something under the skin, just like contusions, but is usually more severe. See a doctor immediately as this could result in death.
Lacerations, Scrapes, and Cuts
These types of injuries can be serious or mild. Scrapes and cuts will often resolve themselves and only require some antibiotic cream and bandages. Lacerations are more serious cuts, that go deeper into the skin and require stitches. These may leave permanent or semi-permanent scars.
Broken Bones, Fractures, and Dislocations
Car accidents will sometimes result in broken bones or dislocations. The hands and feet especially are susceptible to breaking, since they’re full of teeny tiny bones. Chest and rib bones are common in car accidents because of your seat belt keeping you in place. Bones can break anywhere in the body, and the severity of the break will often correlate to the severity of the accident. Treatments involve immobilizing the area (ex: a sling for your arm to protect a broken collarbone), icing to limit swelling and lessen the pain, and a doctor’s visit. The doctor will judge how bad the break is and what kind of break it is, place you in either a splint or a cast, and later down the line, you may need physical therapy. Severe injuries of this nature are likely to have long lasting physical and finacial consequences and it is therefore advisable to consult with injury lawyers Perth with respect to the options available to you.
Loss of Limb
If the car accident is serious enough or your injuries are severe enough, you may lose limbs. Proper amputation will need to be done by a doctor, and you will need physical therapy and rehabilitation. You may find yourself needing prostheses and other devices to assist you in your day-to-day life after this.
In some cases, you can end up with varying degrees of burns after a car accident. If your skin comes into contact with hot metal or hot liquids, burns could arise. Mild burns can be treated, usually, with over-the-counter burn cream, but serious burns could lead to skin grafting or other surgical necessities.
Concussions and Brain Injuries
Concussions can range from mild to severe, and they are caused by the sudden movement and stop of your brain, which leads to jostling and possible soft damage. You will need to see a doctor for a neurological exam to rule out any need for hospitalization, and then follow their recommendations on how to treat it at home. This usually includes pain meds, avoiding strenuous mental or physical activity for a few days, staying hydrated, and getting rest.
Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs for short, are a result of serious injury to the brain during a car accident. These can include blunt or sharp force trauma to the head, so concussions are technically TBIs. TBIs are much harder to diagnose because they show up more slowly, and these can often result in death or long-term disability. Approximately 2.8 million ER visits every year are attributed to TBIs, and 50,000 deaths result from that each year.
A serious risk during a car accident is spinal cord injuries. If the injury is bad enough, you could lose nerve function below that area. The worst part of this type of injury is that there is no “cure” for it. The result will be surgeries, followed by rehab and pain management, and if it does not miraculously resolve itself, mobility assistance equipment for the rest of your life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Lastly, we will talk about PTSD. This is generally caused by a serious shock to your mind and will be a long-term effect of things like car accidents. Certain activities, sounds, or sights may trigger a deep emotional fear response. PTSD can cause nightmares, vision flashes of the event, depression, and many other issues. Even if it’s not full-blown PTSD, being involved in a car accident is likely to leave someone with emotional distress that can affect your daily life. Seeing a therapist and following their recommendations will help, and it is very common and nothing to be ashamed of.
There are so many more types of injuries, mental and physical, that can happen as a result of car accidents. What we’ve covered here are just the most commonly found. We hope this article has helped you learn what to look out for with injuries and how to take care of them after the doctor clears you to go home. Be careful out there on the road and stay aware.